We’re excited to be joining with several other charities and organisations in marking this years’ national Thank You day, along with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This Year, National Thank You Day encourages everyone within the UK, to join together to be thankful for one another, and raise a glass to the Queen for her 70 years of remarkable service to our country.
The pandemic has changed the world forever. Many of us wouldn’t have gotten through the last two years without the support of carers, the NHS, childcare, charitable organisations, and friends and family – and now is our chance to say a big thank you.
It’s also an opportune time to thank those, who throughout the pandemic, have worked or volunteered selflessly, positively impacting the lives of others, in so many different ways.
Football star and social justice advocate, Marcus Rashford, started his national campaign for free school meals at the start of the pandemic, as COVID further highlighted the need for extra provision for low income families. His efforts prompted major changes in government policy and public perceptions regarding food poverty.
Captain Tom Moore raised over £33 million for NHS charities, by walking laps of his garden in the run up to his 100th birthday. After his passing, the Queen led tributes to Sir Tom, "… recognising the inspiration he provided for the whole nation and others across the world".
Richard Humphrey volunteered as part of a group of 25 volunteers that ate, slept and worked in a warehouse to ensure the delivery of three million meals, to those most in need. The volunteers, from a variety of faith backgrounds, worked with the Christian charity, HiS Church, in a wider operation to keep essentials available to disadvantaged families and individuals.
Anne-Marie Plas asked her friends and family to clap for the NHS one evening. Her idea of gratitude captured the hearts and minds of the nation, and subsequently applause for the NHS, each Thursday evening, became a national routine for a number of weeks during lockdowns.
Delivered by The Archbishop of York Youth Trust, the Young Leaders Award (Key stage 1-4) is an online character and leadership education programme that is delivered by teachers in the classroom. The final part of the Award encourages the pupils to do a needs analysis within their local community and then design and deliver a social action project under the supervision of their teacher. During the pandemic, undertaking social action projects as part of the YLA, became much more challenging. But our Young Leaders inspired us, by finding innovative ways to serve others within their schools, homes and communities.
A number of examples are shown below, as we wish so to celebrate the ingenuity and creativity of our young people, and thank them for their tremendous efforts to maintain and grow and community spirit during a national crisis:
Pupils in KS1 and KS2 at Longney CE Primary Academy participated in the Young Leaders Award exploring how they could make a difference to others at home, in school and within their local community. They decided to organise litter picks and donate bags of unwanted clothes to ‘Rags to Riches’, a local charity. They also worked on the school’s spiritual garden, which was overgrown, full of weeds and broken furniture and in need of an injection of life. Their teacher reflected that:
“… due to Covid, the children had lost their understanding of what it means to be part of a community both at school and as being part of a wider community. The Young Leaders Award has helped them rediscover this. It has made them more self-aware, understanding that they can help others and … it has also made them much more aware of their surroundings and how they can have a positive impact.”
KS2 Young Leaders at Milton St John’s CE Primary in Manchester used their ingenuity to help-out at home, school and in their local community whilst conforming to Covid-19 restrictions.
Some Young Leaders learnt about a charity called Wood Street Mission that was founded during Victorian times. One of the main ways the charity supports children in Manchester is to help provide access to reading books for as many children as possible. The pupils chose to hold a non-uniform day to support Wood Street Mission, which raised £141! One pupil commented that:
“I didn't know I could be a leader at 8 but now I know I can be.”
The Young Leaders also raised £147 for toilettwinning.org and a cancer charity which had supported a former pupil who had been diagnosed with leukaemia. They also collected items for their local foodbank, sent cards with messages of support to the local nursing home and helped younger children with remote learning during the lockdowns.
Young Leaders at St Thomas’ C of E Primary, Kendal have been on a mission to try and combat isolation and loneliness within their local community. Upon realising how isolating the pandemic was for the elderly, they decided to contact a local care home and create and deliver ‘Bags of Happiness’ to make the residents smile and feel appreciated.
Each ‘Bag of Happiness’ was handmade and included a card of hugs with a special message inside, a happiness word search, a homemade puzzle, a paper flower and a joke sheet. Reflecting on her pupils’ social action work, their teacher told us that:
“The children really took care to create each item and we discussed that even though we would never meet the person or know who they were, they wanted to spend time creating something special for them.”
Pupils from Greenhead C of E Primary School wanted to support charities focused on helping people during the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, they got their whole school involved in a sponsored ‘Stadium Challenge’, where they ran laps of their school yard.
Their charity of choice was The British Red Cross, to raise money to send oxygen cylinders to India to help those suffering from Covid-19. They also contributed some funds to the charity, Mind, to support those with mental health problems in the area. They raised an amazing £184 for the two charities.
A recent survey by Youth Employment UK, noted that 80% of young people felt more confident and capable of more than they had realised, after participating in social action activities. This demonstrates clearly the agency and confidence young people can accrue, while helping and changing the lives of others for the better.
The survey noted above also concludes that youth social action may contribute to lowering levels of anxiety amongst participants by around 22%. After such a challenging couple of years, in which anxiety has increased among our young people, there is no better time to encourage them to think of others, get involved in social action, and help out their local communities.
It’s important to get young people involved in social action from a young age, as it has several benefits. According to The Habits of Service research by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, those who first get involved in acts of service under the age of 10 are:
More than twice as likely to form a habit of service to others than if they start aged 16–18.
More likely to be involved in a wider range of social action and community focused activities and to participate in them more frequently.
More likely to identify themselves more closely with civic values like open-mindedness, compassion and hope.
- Acts of kindness for those who constantly put others first. It can be easy for people who quietly serve others on a daily basis to be overlooked – let’s take this day as a reminder to thank others and be grateful in our hearts. The Youth Trust have explored the significance of gratitude and thankfulness here.
- Throw a Jubilee party with a specific cause in mind. This gives your nearest and dearest the opportunity to celebrate and have fun, whilst giving to a cause that helps those less fortunate
- Get your pupils to think of 70 things that would help those around them, to mark each year of the Queen’s reign. This encourages teamwork, compassion, kindness and community in your classes. These are values that will be helpful in every dimension of their lives.
- Download our Platinum Jubilee Challenge. This is a great interactive resource to get your pupils thinking about the next 70 years, and the remarkable reign and service of Queen Elizabeth.